WCESD #4 prepares for 2015 budget season

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By Christine Bolaños

The Williamson County Emergency Services District No. 4 Board of Commissioners is preparing for budget season.

Fire Chief Anthony Lincoln said he expects the preliminary budget timeline to be discussed during the July 13th meeting.

“We went over our mid-year budget review. We go over one each month. We spent a little time breaking it down and looking at different line items,” Lincoln said of the June 22 ESD Board meeting.

“It’s a little late. Usually we do this in May. This year we’ve been doing work cleaning up the books,” he added. “So it’s the first good information we had to look at. We’re kind of seeing what we have on the upcoming budget. We start looking at numbers in July.”

The Board once again held off on its decision on whether or not to hire an auditor to conduct a forensic audit of the ESD books. At an estimated $200 per hour, it could cost taxpayers as much as $5,000 to conduct a one-year critical audit.

The Commissioners have repeatedly tabled the item based on recommendation from their lawyer. A critical audit was considered by some to be necessary after a former employee admitted to law enforcement officials some months ago that she had taken $42,000 from the ESD.

The short meeting Monday concluded with the monthly Fire Chief’s report.

Lincoln reported 119 incidents during the month of May. Of those incidents, 60 percent were rescue and medical, 1 percent was fire response, 15 percent were service calls/citizen assistance, 20 percent were good intent calls, 1 percent was overpressure rupture or explosion (no fire), 2 percent were false alarms or calls and 1 percent were hazardous condition (no fire).

Average district response time in May was 7 minutes and 1 second compared to an average April district response time of 6 minutes and 41 seconds. The response time has decreased significantly compared to the 2014 average response time of 8 minutes and 26 seconds.

The Monday, July 13 meeting, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Liberty Hill Fire Station, 301 Loop 332.

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